Strike up the Band

Nov 27, 2012 -- 9:26am


(Help "Santa Lamm" raise money to take disadvantaged kids in the local area shopping for Christmas)

Thinking about bands, the Heisman and a dumb question . . .

I realize I’m making myself an easy target for my colleagues who think the NFL is the end-all, be-all and college football is merely a Saturday warm-up for the real action on Sunday. That’s okay.

So here goes: The NFL – certainly in some markets including Jacksonville – needs to a follow the college game’s lead when it comes to game day atmosphere. I came to this conclusion Sunday at Everbank Field while watching the Jaguars defeat the Titans 24-19. It was a competitive game and reasonably well played. It was also devoid of any kind of buzz.

Almost everyone I know admits the college game has a better atmosphere than the NFL. The difference? The bands. Does anything create a football atmosphere more than blaring music played by a live band?  The Jaguars, like all NFL teams, know the importance of enhancing the game day experience. The competition of large screen, HD TVs is tough.

One thing TV can’t do better is match the hand-clapping, foot-stomping exciting buzz created by a band.

Let’s hear it . . . ah one, ah two, ah three . . .

As for the Heisman Trophy, I don’t know who’ll win or even who should win it. That’s okay. I’m no longer among the nearly 1,000 voters. What bothers me is Kirk Herbstreit and Lou Holtz and, for that matter, Tim Tebow don’t know either, and they’re voters.

When did we turn the Heisman into a race? When did this award for a season’s work start getting broken down, not just game by game, but play by play? Is it a team award or an individual award? Is it okay to mess up early and finish strong? 

USC quarterback Matt Barkley was the early leader until we found out the Trojans’ defense stunk. Then West Virginia QB Geno Smith was a clear winner until the Mountaineers went on a 5-game losing streak, giving up 49.4 points a game in the process. One bad game detailed Kansas State QB Collin Klein. All three have had outstanding seasons. Next their numbers.


Now we’re told it is between Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, whose team lost twice, and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.  Would Manziel be as strong a candidate if he didn’t have the catchy nickname “Johnny Football”? Would Te’o be punished if the Irish lost a game 3-0? Both players, by the way, have had wonderful seasons and deserve plenty of recognition.

Who really thinks Te’o is a better linebacker than Georgia’s Jarvis Jones? Who knows? Why not Florida’s Matt Elam? Or . . . you get my point.

And, finally, about that dumb question that is asked so often of winners. In this case it was asked of Te’o after the Irish beat USC: “How does it feel to have overcome so much?” So much what? 

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